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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy When You Are Diagnosed With Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, involves patterns of thought that are not realistic and tend to inhibit activities of daily life. For example, a person diagnosed with OCD may be so worried about having germs on their hands, they will wash their hands over and over until their hands are chapped. OCD behaviors are on a spectrum, and some people manage their daily lives with minimal intervention from a therapist. Other individuals find that their OCD symptoms prevent them from doing things they love, and seek treatment with a trained psychologist to work through their obsessive thoughts and behaviors.

Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Exposure to Triggers

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT is an effective form of therapeutic intervention that helps anyone who wants to deal with unwanted thoughts and change their behavior. In a person with OCD, exposure and response prevention techniques are utilized in order to help manage the unwanted thoughts and rituals of OCD. Through the help of a therapist, the individual will be exposed to triggers that often cause anxiety and an unhealthy response. While this invokes some anxiety, it is helpful for the individual. Once the person is triggered, the therapist will talk them through a more appropriate response.

How CBT Helps Develop New Thought Patterns

People diagnosed with OCD often have rituals they have designed over the years in order to cope with anxiety. For example, a person may shut a light off and on ten times, believing that the tenth time is when the light will be shut off for good. While this doesn't make sense to one that doesn't suffer from OCD, this is a very real behavior that does make sense. If the person is not allowed to shut the light off and on ten times, this can cause severe anxiety. A therapist will slowly introduce the possibility that these types of rituals are not beneficial in an effort to develop new thoughts around each ritual. 

CBT takes time, and a person diagnosed with OCD may need a combination of medication and therapy in order to have full relief from the symptoms of OCD. Dealing with the thought patterns of OCD takes work and commitment. While medications may relieve some symptoms pretty quickly, it is the behaviors that really need to be addressed through consistent therapy with a qualified provider. If you have been diagnosed with OCD, it's time to find a psychologist who can help you.